Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel: Why were the most successful tag team in 5 years broken up?

Posted on July 24, 2011


I think that having teams in the wrestling industry is a good way of getting superstars on the map. They go from working in a tag team or stable to competing in the mid-card, and then hopefully on to the main event. It has been a tried and tested system for a very long time. Let’s think about some people who have gone from being in a tag team or stable to mid-card and onto the WWE Championship or World Heavyweight Championship. Bret Hart (Hart Foundation), Christian (E&C), Jeff Hardy (The Hardy Boyz), JBL (Although he went from the APA to the main event to mid-card, oddly enough), Edge (E&C), Booker T (Harlem Heat), The Miz (John Morrison and The Miz), Batista (Evolution), Randy Orton (Evolution), The Rock (Nation of Domination), and of course Shawn Michaels (The Rockers).

Now there are probably a lot of people that are missing from that list. But just from all of those wrestlers you can see what being in a tag team or stable can do for your career. I think, if anything, one of the most important parts of being in a tag team is the break up. The break up feud is where it’s determined who will come out of that team and shine. Both the superstars have reached the peak of their popularity within the confines of the team, and it’s time to see how they do by themselves. Now this has happened many, many times within the WWE. I personally enjoyed Edge and Christian’s break up feud, but I thought it was very much lost in the chaos that was The Invasion. The Miz and John Morrison have been having a kind of continuing rivalry ever since they broke up, and keep coming back to face eachother which I enjoy. Both Randy Orton and Batista breaking away from Evolution did wonders for their careers in the long term (although it took Orton a while). Obviously, Shawn Michaels breaking away from Marty Jannetty is the famous example of a break up that does wonders for a superstars career, as HBK went on to become one of the biggest WWE superstars of all time.

So you’re probably wondering why I’m going on about this. All of this deliberation has lead me to ask these 2 questions:

  1. Why doesn’t the WWE concentrate on tag teams more, and break them up in a way that will help all superstars involved?
  2. Why did WWE decide to break up WWE’s most successful tag team in 5 years without a feud, or hardly acknowledging it?

In case you don’t know, I am talking about Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater. I’m not saying that either of those guys are world title material, but they are still the most successful tag team in 5 years. As a team they held 3 WWE Tag Team Championships, and that makes them the most successful team since MNM. So why did WWE not want them to feud? It’s not as if they’re doing anything else. In fact, why did they even break up? Unfortunately, I can’t answer any of these questions. But my best guess would be that it’s one of the WWE’s short sighted decisions about tag teams again. Just like what happened with The Colons, and The Hart Dynasty, they have probably been broken up because the creative team can’t be bothered with tag teams anymore. Look what has happened to Primo since he was broken up from Carlito. He did nothing on Raw, was briefly reunited with his brother and then because of Carlito’s release he’s now a jobber. Let’s look at The Hart Dynasty too. They have done nothing significant since their break up; especially David Hart Smith. Why were Gabriel and Slater not given a chance to shine in a feud together? Well it’s early days, but considering how out of nowhere the break up came, I am starting to suspect that the WWE have broken up a perfectly good tag team for no reason at all. Maybe at some point they’ll hook up again like Ted Dibiase and Cody Rhodes, but at least they were broken up because of a draft and not randomly.

Posted in: Wrestling wisdom